Thursday, April 14, 2005

This Is Romance?!

I finished reading (finally) my first F rated romance of the year this week.

Windwalker by Natasha Mostert.

Now why did I rate it an F? Well, it had a lot of problems, but what ultimately clinched it was the ending. Repeat after me, this book is not a romance. And since it was published under Tor's paranormal romance line that is a real problem. Frankly, it borders on false advertising.

The heroine is a photojournalist running away from her problems. She has attempted suicide in the past, has a really shitty relationship with Mom, and feels guilty over her part in her beloved brother's death. So instead of seeing a good therapist, she decides to take the job of caretaker of a rundown English manor.

Cue creepy music here.

The hero is the son of the former owner of said creepy manor, living in exile in Africa. He murdered his brother 9 years ago. So now he wanders the African desert and writes letters to a mysterious woman. See, our boy believes in the concept of "soul mates." The mysterious woman in question is the heroine. He just doesn't know who the heck she is, and that she's living in his former home.

Windwalker is the most boring romance I have ever read. I'd never read a boring romance before. Oh sure, I've read bad ones - but boring? We're talking pages and pages of description here. Chapters go by without any dialouge. It takes forever for something to happen, and when it finally does it's so frickin' anti-climactic I could care less.

Then there is the suspense - um, there isn't any. There's some decent gothic atmosphere here, but with no suspense to add punch it becomes really dull. Justine attracts a stalker once she's living in the manor, but the reader knows immediately his identity - so gee we just follow him skulking about for the entire book. Boring. Then there's a tedious villain in Africa with Russian mob ties whose business scheme is thwarted by the hero's friend. Gee, wonder what will happen there?

But that's not the worst of it. Oh no. Boring I can live with. But the ending? Mostert breaks the cardinal rule of romance. I'm talking the granddaddy of all rules. Did you hate the ending to A Knight In Shining Armor? This one is worse. Trust me. I liked the ending to AKISA, and this ending made me want to ram my head into a wall.

If you don't believe me, check out the review over at AAR. My review over at TRR should be posted within the next week or so.


Nicole said...

Well, never read AKISA, but I must say Windwalker sounds like it sucks big time. I hadn't planned on ever buying it, but it's nice to know I'm not missing anything.

sybil said...

Oh I am glad I saw this... I had noticed the cover on your sidebar and almost picked it up yesterday.

lost said...

I can't figure out Tor's line now. What is their definition of 'paranormal romance'? I've read almost four Tor Romance novels and none of them fits my idea of paranormal romances. They are pretty much Gothic novels [I dislike Gothic novels because, interesting enough, they are usually riddled with plot holes, pockets of empty air and messy bouts of bordering-on-hysteria melodrama].

Do you think that's what Tor is aiming at? I mean, Gothic fiction is associated with the supernatural, so maybe that's why it billed those books as 'paranormal romances'?

Hm, apparently not, according to Tor Romance submissions page:

"Each novel should include at least two main plot elements: one, the romance and the conflict inherent in that; two, another significant conflict. Both storylines should be crucial to the overall novel, and the romantic elements should make up no more than half the entire story."

Interestingly, Tor Romance welcomes these: science fiction / futuristic, fantasy, horror / otherworldly beings (i.e., vampires, goblins, faeries, ghosts, banshees, zombies, golem, etc.), shape-shifters (werewolves, etc.), near-future / speculative fiction, time travel, possessed objects, alternate history / alternate timelines, reincarnation / love through time, witches / witchcraft, and psychic abilities (clairvoyance, ESP, psychometrics, telekinesis, etc.).

Hm, maybe I could write one about a possessed washing machine that terrorises our heroine all over her 30-bedroom house. And, and ... the hero is a local postman who helps her out by administrating a Kung Fu kick on the washing machine, but his foot goes "Owie!", which puts our hero in our heroine's bed where he does his Rear Window duty. The heroine decides to fight back by finding out who's possessing the washing machine and slowly discovers it's Barbara Cartland. Do you think this could work?

lost said...

Sorry about the length of my previous response. Got a bit carried away. *sheepish grin* Please feel free to remove it. Thanks. :)

Wendy said...

LOL Maili - I kind of like the possessed washing machine idea!

This is the second Tor paranormal romance I've read, and the second one I've hated. The other book in questions was THE CHALLENGE by Susan Kearney - which incidently was a futuristic/time travel. Not a bad premise - but the hero was such a Neanderthal ass that I thought I had been time-warped back into a 1980s bodic ripper.....


CW said...

I'm so glad I didn't pick up Windwalker now! Thanks for the warning. :)

Kind of makes me leery of picking up WARPRIZE, another in the Tor line.